Approximately one in five adults will experience mental illness each year. Fortunately, the growing need for mental health counselors continues to drive job growth for mental health professionals in Wyoming, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 23% growth through 2026. Counseling licensure in Wyoming requires candidates to complete specific educational programs, successfully counsel patients under supervision, and pass a national exam.
The Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board requires certification for mental health counselors, family and marriage therapists, addiction counselors, and social workers. This guide walks you through the steps of how to become a licensed counselor in Wyoming and offers professional resources to help you succeed in your chosen field.
Counseling Careers in Wyoming
Counseling encompasses a variety of specialty areas. You can tailor your education and experience to focus on a specific type of counseling, such as marriage or family counseling; a particular problem, such as addiction and substance abuse; or a particular age group, such as students or senior citizens. Read on to explore how to become a counselor in each treatment area and use the links to learn more about educational and licensure requirements in Wyoming.
School, Guidance, Vocational, and Educational Counselors
Guidance counselors often work in elementary and secondary schools or postsecondary educational institutions. They help students evaluate their interests and talents to set career goals. Counselors may help students plot their educational paths or identify training opportunities to enter their chosen fields. In some schools, guidance counselors also provide counseling for students struggling with problems at home or in school.Explore Career Information Explore Wyoming School Counselor Certification
Marriage and Family Therapists
In this counseling specialty, therapists help couples and families struggling with relationship problems. They may aid families to cope with loss or overcome behavioral issues with children, either through group or individual counseling sessions. These therapists can help to identify problematic behaviors or relationship patterns and replace those with healthy alternatives. They may work in private practices, through outpatient mental health centers, or in cooperation with other medical professionals.Explore Career Information
Injuries and illness can impact a patient's ability to carry out their usual activities. Rehabilitation counselors help these patients cope with these changes and overcome their challenges. They offer individual and group counseling, along with help to connect their clients with other forms of treatment, such as occupational therapy, and resources, such as mobility equipment. They work with clients to evaluate interests, health, and education to identify new career pursuits, often assisting clients with accessing career training programs. They may work through government agencies, schools, or nonprofit organizations.Explore Career Information Explore Wyoming Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor
Addiction and substance abuse counselors help their clients overcome substance dependencies to successfully transition from treatment to recovery. These counselors may work on-call to handle crises or provide ongoing counseling for clients. Counselors help their clients identify underlying issues that may contribute to addictive behaviors and establish effective coping techniques. They may work with in-patient or out-patient treatment facilities, with government agencies, or in private practices.Explore Career Information Explore Wyoming Substance Abuse Counselor Certification
Mental Health Counselors
Mental health counselors assist clients with many mental health disorders and diseases. They focus on examining behaviors and emotions to overcome difficult situations, such as depression, stress, or anger. These counselors may work one-on-one with clients or facilitate group sessions for individuals coping with similar issues. They often work in private practices, through mental health centers, or with medical offices and hospitals.Explore Career Information
How Much Do Counselors Make in Wyoming?
Wyoming counseling careers offer strong earning potential. The chart below details the salaries for several counseling professions. Your level of education, training, and specific counseling licensure may impact your earning potential. The type of industry you work in, such as a private practice or government agency, and your location within Wyoming also affect wages. The BLS combines wage information for counselors specializing in substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and mental health.
Education Requirements for Counselors in Wyoming
Education and Coursework
When determining how to become a counselor, consider the educational requirements for licensed professional counselors and certified addictions practitioners or assistants. The Wyoming counselor board requires applicants to complete degrees (undergraduate and graduate) related to counseling and mental health. Candidates must also attend regionally or nationally accredited schools.
Wyoming requires applicants to demonstrate their understanding of adherence to professional ethics and standards through coursework and professional references
An addiction practitioner must complete a bachelor's degree in chemical dependency or related field while an assistant needs an associate degree. Both assistants and practitioners work under the supervision of a qualified clinician. Practitioners must pass the Association for Addiction Professionals National Certified Addictions Counselor Level II Exam or the Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor Exam.
A licensed professional counselor (LPC) must complete a minimum of a master's degree in counseling from a school accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) or the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). The curriculum should prepare these future clinicians to serve clients with courses in assessment, research, human growth and development, and social and cultural diversity.
Also, Wyoming requires applicants to demonstrate their understanding of adherence to professional ethics and standards through coursework and professional references. An applicant's education should prepare them to take the National Counselor Examination or National Clinical Mental Health Examination.
Practicum and Internship
An accredited master's counseling degree includes hands-on counseling experiences. These courses may consist of practicums, with students observing professional clinicians, and internships, where students take on direct counseling duties. Often, the school sets a minimum number of hours each student must complete, including direct patient contact and the time necessary to complete counseling notes and documentation. An internship often serves as a capstone experience for the master's program.
Online Counseling Programs in Wyoming
Wyoming expects its prospective counselors to complete a CACREP- or CORE-accredited educational program, either on campus or online. The University of Wyoming at Casper offers master's degrees in mental health counseling and school counseling with a new hybrid program that includes online learning and intensive weekend sessions.
Students can begin working with counseling clients during the second semester, with supervised internships offered at approved field sites. Its three-year program offers a cohort model, with students taking 7-9 credits each semester. The school has worked diligently to meet the requirements for CACREP accreditation, with a site visit by the accreditor set for spring 2019. Once accredited, the school can help the student navigate how to become a counselor in Wyoming.
How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Wyoming
The Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board issues licenses to mental health clinicians operating within the state. The board considers education, professional references, national licensing exams, and supervised clinical experiences when evaluating license applications. Each applicant must submit transcripts to ensure their degree aligns with state curriculum guidelines.
The state also requires each candidate to undergo a criminal background check, in addition to providing professional references and a signed agreement with a qualified clinical supervisor. Wyoming accepts scores from the National Counselor Examination, the National Clinical Mental Health Examination — both administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors — or the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification's exam.
A provisional license allows counselors to work under a qualified clinician while completing required practice hours, and a full license allows counselors to work on their own. Applicants pay a fee for the provisional license and a fee to convert their license to an LPC.
Out of State Counselor Candidates
The Wyoming counselor board offers guidance on how to become a mental health counselor in the state as an out-of-state license holder. An individual licensed to practice independently may apply for a reciprocal license in Wyoming. The regulations of the other state must be similar to Wyoming's education, examination, and supervised practice requirements.
Each applicant must still provide three professional references and verification of their current license. The board may ask to review the applicant's educational transcripts, as well, along with professional credentials from the National Board for Certified Counselors or other professional credentialing agencies. Wyoming charges a fee to evaluate a reciprocal license application.
Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in Wyoming
Your Wyoming counseling licensure remains in effect for two years, expiring on your date of birth. Counselors can renew their licenses in the 60 days before their birthdate. The state does not accept late renewals, with missed deadlines resulting in loss of your license. A new online renewal system makes it easier for counselors to complete their forms and pay the fee.
As part of the renewal process, counselors must complete 45 hours of continuing education every two years. At least three hours of the continuing professional education must focus on ethics in the counseling profession and suicide assessment or intervention. Continuing education may take place at in-person classes or through home study options, so long as the provider has gained approval from the National Board for Certified Counselors.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Wyoming
- Wyoming Counseling Association This statewide counseling association offers in-person training opportunities throughout the year. The nonprofit organization serves counselors, additional specialists, school counselors, and other mental health professionals as an affiliate of the American Counseling Association. Its annual conference, held in conjunction with the Wyoming chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, features educational training sessions, as well.
- Telebehavioral Health Institute Based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the institute helps clinicians understand the legal, regulatory, and ethical questions related to using distance technology in clinical practices. The company offers fully online training with webinars, certificate programs, and graduate-level programs. Its faculty includes experts in the counseling field. All programs feature self-paced assignments with six months to complete.
- The Center for Ethical Practice This organization, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, offers intermediate-level home study and online courses in professional ethics. Its website provides several free resources related to ethical practice and legal responsibilities. Clinical psychologist Mary Alice Fisher authored many of the classes and resources, which focus on topics of confidentiality; subpoenas, court testimony, and other legal challenges; and ethics training for non-clinical staff. Courses have earned national accreditation from the NBCC.
Resources and Professional Organizations for Counselors in Wyoming
- Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board Counselors can use the board's website to find information about licensing requirements, fees, forms, renewals, supervision, and license verification. Individuals can also apply for Wyoming counseling licensure through the board's website.
- Psychology Today - Therapists in Wyoming Psychology Today maintains a directory of therapists in the state. Counseling students and counselors can consult this list to find potential supervisors or professionals to network with.
- Wyoming Counseling Services Counselors, therapists, and students can find employment or internship opportunities through WCS. This group also offers family, group, individual, and marital counseling services. Its specialties include play therapy, addiction, panic disorder, parenting, and depression.
- University of Wyoming - University Counseling Center The counseling center at UW provides group and individual counseling, outreach programs, and graduate training. Students can find internships and training opportunities, and professionals can access continuing education classes and look for employment offers.
- Central Wyoming Counseling Center CWCC focuses on behavioral healthcare, offering intensive treatment, recovery support services, and residential programs. Students can find internships at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, as well as volunteer opportunities.
- Wyoming Counseling Association This branch of the American Counseling Association promotes the counseling profession throughout Wyoming. Some of its offerings include job postings, a mentorship program, continuing education classes, an annual conference, and networking opportunities. WCA also helps professional counselors in Wyoming stay up to date on current issues in the profession.
- American Counseling Association As the world's biggest professional counseling organization, ACA advocates for the profession, promotes professional development, and works to protect individuals who use counseling services. ACA also offers professional counselors continuing education opportunities, a career portal, an annual conference, and listservs for professional networking.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association AMHCA represents professional licensed clinical mental health counselors nationwide. The group advocates for the profession and promotes education related to mental health counseling. The organization also offers a career center, continuing education opportunities, and online publications and research.